Great post.Is it the fault of the school that those weights are being forfeited or the fault of the coaches no actively recruiting kids for those open weights? I personally think it is the coaches responsibility to get those weights filled. Sure you'll have an a kid that doesn't need to be in the lineup, but that's a decision to be made at match time.
The problem I see here is the sheer laziness of a large handful of coaches who simply think the kids will just come to them because they are already there. And its that laziness that has led us to this discussion. Unless you're in an incredibly tiny school, there are kids roaming the halls that could be filling those weights, just waiting for a coach to talk to them.
My school is small(about 260 kids) and we needed several weights filled after losing several seniors or kids growing. So I went out recruiting and managed to not only fill every hole, but we managed to get 3 deep at 103. All it took was me talking to them and selling our sport to them. Sure they were outmatched at times, but they held their own and won some matches. They worked out all spring and will be back next year, all because I simply asked them. Not difficult.
However, coaches nowadays are simply too lazy and don't think they need to recruit anymore. As a coach, if you aren't always recruiting kids, then what the hell are you doing in the job in the first place.
The elimination of the lowest two weights will do nothing but damage our sport even more. We are truly the only sport that is for EVERYONE. However, we want to change it so its more like football and b-ball where size matters more. That's phucked up IMO.
As coaches, instead of trying to find ways to eliminate weights, we need to be working our butts off to fill those weights every year. Whether its by recruiting kids, helping with the jr high programs or running a youth program, it shouldn't matter. I do all three and it works.
Another problem I see is that we want to badly for these club kids to be the next Metcalf, that we easily turn those kids off to the sport as they get older because of burn out. We race little Johnny around to every meet imaginable, trying to make them the next National Champion and we forget that these are just kids. So by the time they reach jr high, they are no longer interested. The Jr High years are when a kid decides what sport he wants to do or whether to stick it out. This is why in our program, I emphasize more Jr High wrestling matches, than youth club weekend tournaments.
I only arrange about 5-6 dates for our kids to wrestle matches at the youth level, but once they reach jr high, they'll get around 40 matches in 2.5 months. We've had less kids quit at the youth level and more kids stick it out in jr high and eventually move onto HS, than in years where we placed more importance on youth matches. Something to consider if you're really wanting to get kids out year after year.
There is a whole lot of things that we could be doing differently as coaches in order to ensure decent numbers for our teams every year. Just a matter of finding the right solution to the problem. Dropping weight classes wouldn't be an option.